Traffic Engineering resurrects concept of 2-lane avenue through Old Colorado City

       Two years ago, City Traffic Engineering rebuffed the idea of narrowing avenue traffic from four to two lanes through Old Colorado City, saying it would slow traffic too much.
       But the department's leadership structure has changed in that time, and at the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District Committee meeting Sept. 16, current Traffic Engineering director Dave Krauth brought up the idea on his own.
       “We could look at road dieting,” he said, in the midst of committee brainstorming about how to solve the problem of Colorado Avenue speeders. The average daily traffic volume of about 15,000 vehicles “is at the upper end of what would be allowed,” he said; however, he added that he knows of four-to-two-lane reductions on streets with several thousand more cars a day than the avenue has.
       In 2007, the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group had passed a motion in favor of “dieting” the avenue to slow down traffic - similar to what Manitou Springs did three years earlier. The Maintenance District Committee also supported the idea before being rebuffed by the city on the grounds that the avenue through Old Town was too major of a traffic carrier to be narrowed that much.
       The traffic discussion Sept. 16 was spurred by committee concerns that the pedestrian-activated flashing LED sign at 24th and Colorado (installed by the city last November) is ineffective at best. “Most of the time nobody stops, and part of the time some of the cars stop,” said committee member Kathy Read. Noting that the crossing is heavily used and in a place where eastbound traffic is sometimes going 45 mph, she described the situation as “seriously dangerous.”
       Among the committee's suggestions for improvements was moving Colbrunn Court's pedestrian-activated signal halfway through the 2400 block - in which motorists get an actual red light instead of a flashing yellow - to 24th and Colorado; or, if the flashing sign stays where it is, installing better signage so that motorists will be more aware of the crossing there.
       Krauth tempered all ideas, including his “dieting” option, with the mantra that a study should be conducted before deciding on any major solutions. At the same time, he pointed out that the city has no money to fund either a traffic study (costing $5,000 to $10,000) or the roadwork itself (costing up to $200,000 if a traffic signal installation is involved) that might follow from it, Krauth said. But he pledged to consider the idea at some future date when the city might be less tight on funds.

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